Local Capacity Building for Improving Access to Healthcare

Santen aims to reduce the loss of social and economic opportunities for people around the world due to eye conditions by striving to improve the welfare of patients in the ophthalmic field as our specialty.

Supporting Training for Young Ophthalmologists from Low-resource Countries

Santen supports the three-month International Council of Ophthalmology (hereinafter, ICO) Fellowship Program, which offers young ophthalmologists from low-resource countries the opportunity to stay in more developed countries to enhance their ophthalmological knowledge and skills. Santen has continued to make a donation to cover ICO fellowships for three people every year. We aim to contribute to improving medical standards in areas with unmet medical needs by supporting the training of young ophthalmologists.

As of July 2022, young ophthalmologists from Egypt and Mongolia have completed their training in Turkey and Germany, respectively. Despite a postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ophthalmologists from Malaysia, Thailand, Egypt, and Turkey are scheduled to receive training in the U.S., Finland, and other countries.

Resolving the Shortage of Ophthalmologists in Developing Countries

The company had continually made donations since 2012 to support "Teaching the Teachers," a training program focused on educating the educators of ophthalmologists. This program is presented by the ICO Foundation, the largest ophthalmic foundation in the world, with the aim of eliminating the shortage of ophthalmologists in developing countries.

"Teaching the teachers" program
(Photo provided by ICO Foundation)

Raising Awareness with Digital Health Programs in Developing Countries

In 2020, the company entered into a partnership agreement with the International Telecommunication Union (Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland, hereinafter ITU), the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies, to support "Be He@lthy, Be Mobile" (hereinafter BHBM) in ophthalmology, an initiative of ITU and the World Health Organization (Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland).

BHBM is a digital health initiative between the WHO and ITU in support of the WHO's expansion of services in non-communicable diseases. This initiative is designed to raise awareness of the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases through the use of mobile phones and digital devices in order to realize healthy lifestyles. It is estimated that almost the entire world population (97 per cent) lives within reach of a mobile cellular signal, and today its service is expanding digital health services and geographic reach, including the distribution of health information and content to end users through SMS (short message service) and digital device apps. Millions of people have already been reached through the programs and evaluation shows that they are impacting positively on users' health.

As part of this effort, digital health programs are being developed to raise awareness about myopia and its prevention in developing countries and to improve health literacy.

Supporting Educational Program for Ophthalmologists in Uveitis Field in Asia

Santen is supporting on-line educational program for trainee and practicing ophthalmologists in uveitis field especially in Asia through donation to L V Prasad Eye Institute which is managed by Hyderabad Eye Institute in India. Started in July 2021, this educational program is almost a year long program and includes following activities:

  1. Engaging leaders in specific areas of uveitis to moderate classes in their respective fields
  2. More than 100 hours of academic engagement in uveitis
  3. Monthly - special interest group meetings, key note lectures, grand rounds and interactive meetings
  4. Monthly collaborative combined grand rounds with one of the major international uveitis centers
  5. Interface for practicing ophthalmologists/uveitis specialists with academia

During the past year, nearly 140 ophthalmologists, including 35 from outside India, have been continuously engaged in this training activity. Below are some of the feedbacks from the trainees.

  • It was very informative. Made me realize how little I know of the subject, will need to go back to basic books.
  • It was wonderful explanation. Thanking a friend who insisted I join this course.
Uveitis on-line education

Developing Researchers in Japan

Santen's Nara Research and Development Center operates the Functional Polymer Science Laboratory established in 2005 in collaboration with Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST). Serving as visiting professors, associate professors and collaborative research staff members, Santen's employees familiar with this field of specialty teach students who aim to become researchers. So far, this laboratory has produced 14 master's degree graduates and two PhD degree graduates.

In the laboratory

Developing Ophthalmologists in China

The company has made great efforts to help the development of the ophthalmology industry in China. As early as 1966, we established Santen Scholarship to cultivate more Chinese ophthalmology talents and improve the specialized level of ophthalmology doctors. Over the years, Santen Scholarship has provided a variety of academic support programs, which benefit generations of ophthalmology HCPs. The total amount of Santen Scholarship has reached over 21 million RMB by the end of 2020.

In addition, Santen has recently worked with Beijing Bethune Charitable Foundation to promote the standardization of glaucoma diagnosis and treatment in China through the "Glaucoma Standardization Center Construction Project". This not only benefits the majority of glaucoma patients, but also improves the level of diagnosis and treatment in China.

2020 Santen Scholarship Memorandum signing site
Glaucoma Standardization Center Construction Project Phase II